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Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis

Having diverticulosis means you have pouches that bulge out from your colon. When the pouches get infected or inflamed, it’s called diverticulitis. These problems are most common in older adults.

Diverticulosis and diverticulitis: what you should know

  • Doctors think eating a low-fiber diet is the main cause of diverticulosis. When you don’t eat enough fiber, you stool can become hard. Passing hard stools through the colon can create pressure that causes little pouches, called diverticuli, to form in the wall of the colon.
  • About 15 percent of people with diverticulosis get diverticulitis.
  • Diverticulitis often causes lower abdominal pain and fever. In most cases, antibiotics can address these symptoms.
  • Changes in your diet may decrease the chance for future episodes of diverticulitis. Doctors and dietitians at Rush can help you find the treatments that work best for you.

How can I get help for diverticulosis or diverticulitis?

People with diverticulosis might have bloating or cramps, but usually do not have symptoms.

Symptoms of diverticulitis include the following:

  • Abdominal pain or tenderness
  • Bloating
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting

But having these symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean you have diverticulitis. Many other conditions have similar symptoms. See a doctor if you have any of these symptoms and it doesn’t go away.

Care for diverticulitis at Rush   

At Rush, your treatment for diverticulitis might include one or more of the following:

  • Dietary counseling and support to help make diet and lifestyle changes
  • Antibiotics to fight the infection
  • Pain medication
  • Surgery (needed only rarely — in about 1 percent of cases)

Why choose Rush for diverticulosis and diverticulitis care

  • Rush has a special program for people with pelvic pain and other stomach issues — some of which can be caused by diverticulitis. The program has a coordinator who can help you find the multiple specialists you might need to see to find relief.
  • Colon and rectal surgeons at Rush have helped pioneer several minimally invasive techniques, including colorectal laparoscopy and intestinal robotic surgery. These techniques, which involve smaller incisions, can lead to less pain and shorter recovery times.

Departments and programs that treat this condition